Minolta AF 80-200mm F4.5-5.6 A-mount lens review by Phil Wood

reviewer#44248 date: Mar-21-2019
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.2
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta - AF 70-210mm f4
Minolta - AF 70-210mm f3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 70-210mm f4.5-5.6
Minolta - AF 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 II
Minolta - AF 80-200mm F4.5-5.6 xi
Minolta - AF 100-200 F4.5
price paid:10 GBP
positive:Size, weight - a pocketable 80-200. Neat fixed lens cap.
negative:Fixed lens cap doesn't protect filters.
Vignetting at wide end - caused by lens cap?
comment:I put this lens on my A900 because it was time for some Day 80 shots for the Day Prime 2019 challenge - and this was my only option. I wasn't expecting much - its reputation preceded it. I have a copy because it was cheap enough to buy just to see what it was really like.

The first thing to say is that it is a good deal better than I expected. Central sharpness is decent even wide open and it tightens up by f8. I wouldn't use it in preference to the beercan (70-210mm f4) it is nowhere near as good, but it is much, much, smaller and portable - a pocket sized 80-200mm lens. To be fair, cost and size are the only reasons to buy this lens in preference to the beercan or the 70-210mm f3.5-4.5 which are considerably better performers.

I often go for a walk with a prime fitted to my camera - being a little paranoid about missing a shot I often carry an 18-55mm SAM II in my pocket, just in case - not the best lens I have in that range,but decent and pocketable. The 80-200 isn't as good a lens, but it may find itself in my other pocket at times.

UPDATE: I've had this lens on my A77 and A900 over the past few days and am increasingly impressed by its sharpness and bokeh. However, there is very noticeable vignetting FF at 80mm - easily fixed in pp but not ideal. I suspect that this is caused by the neat fixed lens cap - easy to see why this idea didn't catch on.

UPDATE 8/11/19: I overlooked a couple of other contenders for a small (if not so lightweight) telezoom. The xi version of this lens is essentially the same lens with the complications of xi - there is nothing to recommend it above the manual zoom. Then there is the old Minolta - AF 100-200 F4.5. In terms of IQ it is better than either of the cheap 80-200s, perhaps a bit weighty to carry in your pocket, but doesn't take up much space in the bag.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 7
  • sharpness: 3.50
  • color: 4.00
  • build: 3.43
  • distortion: 4.43
  • flare control: 3.86
  • overall: 3.84
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